Marduk + Ragnarok + Unlight + Azziard @ Audio, Glasgow

Date: Thursday, 24th of May 2018
Review By: Pete Mutant

Marduk were back in Glasgow bringing with them some of Black Metal’s fiercest acts along for the ride. They had already been tearing up Europe and had played some gigs in the UK, but by the time they got to Manchester, Infernal War decided to not continue on as the tour was becoming mired in controversy caused by a backlash from Antifa activists.

There was to be a small presence of those who identified with Antifa in Glasgow, with several members handing out pamphlets to those attending the gig before they got to the venue. With Infernal War out of the picture, the focus was on Marduk and the controversies that have been circulating the metal news circuit, and familiar excerpts appeared in the documents provided. Not what I was expecting when going to see some live music, but I guess it was bound to happen.

Unfortunately, I missed 99% of Azziard as the door/stage times that were posted were not accurate or were changed at the last minute. I arrived at Audio, past the gauntlet of activists, to the members of Azziard finishing their set, hooded and malevolent in appearance as they had their instruments resting on the ground as if in prayer. I was gutted as I was really looking forward to seeing them.

Anyways, Unlight [3.5/5] went on and introduced themselves with their backs turned to the audience until Blaspherion counted down “eins, zwei, drei, vier” (what, they’re from Germany) and ‘Create and Annihilate’ was unleashed. It was well executed, but it’s not the most impressive song in my opinion, but it was very pristine and it had some atmosphere to it. I wasn’t too blown away by the set, but the third track ‘Carnal Baptism’ was more like it, with some dark and pungent rhythm delivered at mid-tempo but with some ferocious power.

The most impressive aspects were from the guitars and drums, as Blaspherion’s rasp didn’t hold up at all times, but the riffs were driven and the drums were rapid which rescued the performance. There was some stellar leadwork on ‘Seven Libations’ and the crowd were getting more and more into it although the set was coming to its end. Unlight finished with ‘First Son Of The Flame’, and the crowd were getting involved, with fists in the air and some synchronized “heys” being delivered. It was a fitting end to a noble set and it was safe to say that most attendees were pleased.

Setlist:
Ekpyrosis (Intro)
Create & Annihilate
The Katalyst Of The Katharsis
Carnal Baptism
Antihelion
Seven Libations

First Son Of Flame

Next up were Ragnarok [4.5/5], who I was very much looking forward to seeing for the first time. They walked on and were in full-on black metal mode: leather crucifixes, spikes, corpse paint; the works. They started with the humongous sounding ‘Dominance and Submission’, and all parts came together gloriously. This would be a theme throughout as the band were delivering a performance for the ages. The riffs were pounding out through songs like ‘Blood of Saints’ and the variations in styles were quality. ‘Collectors Of the King’ had some powerful switches in tempo and power, and Jontho’s vocals were excellent, with the Norwegians powerfully commanding the night so far.

We went back to their first album in ‘Nattferd’ for ‘Pagan Land’ before going into the incredible ‘Murder’, which opened up with atmosphere before building and chopping towards an awesome break with a riff of absolute quality. And the quality kept on spilling from the band with all forces combining superbly. I thought that ‘It’s War’ was their final track but was pleasantly surprised when the actual end came one track later in ‘Blackdoor Miracle’, which had the packed Audio’s patrons all putting their horns in the air for their curtain call for this evening. This would be hard to top, but could Marduk quite match it?

Setlist:
Dominance & Submission
In Nomine Satanas
Blood of Saints
Collectors of the King
Pagan Land
Murder
Infernal Majesty
It’s War
Blackdoor Miracle

Marduk [4.0/5] were the main focus for most, both fans and detractors alike, and they came on to the crowd with their horns in the air. ‘Panzer Division Marduk’ opened the set and heads were banging all over. A pit opened up during the 2nd track, ‘Baptism By Fire’ and by the third, ‘The Blond Beast’, there was barely a static being in the venue. The music was solid and very tight, with the instruments combining well and packing a severe punch whilst Mortuus’ vocals were cutting and extremely sharp.

Before the sixth track, ‘Werewolf’, the bomb sirens were ringing loudly and the music was complimenting the song well. By the ninth track, the whole of the venue was in fits of head banging as Marduk continued to dominate the audience and provide plenty of sustenance to the ever-swelling set of inductees to the pit. The pit was absorbing more and more people and was nearing the back of the room by the time ‘Burn My Coffin’ came on. There was some great bass coming through on this one, with some variety mixing up the rhythm very nicely. ‘Burn My Coffin’ served as quite the catalyst as the first crowd surfer was launched during this track and it wouldn’t be the last, it never is.

The set was moving on and edging closer to oblivion. ‘Wolves’ was our twelfth offering of this evening, and it started with a bang with some catastrophe blasts and plenty of bounce. The last track we were told by Mortuus was ‘Into Utter Madness’, and he asked if we really wanted this, of course we did. It sort of blended with some of the other tracks in sound, so it didn’t leave the biggest impression, but it was still a quality song. They left the stage, but it wasn’t to be the end as Marduk came on for an encore and left us with ‘Serpent Sermon’ to finish off with some real and lasting effect. Probably the best performance that I have seen from the band and it was a brilliant night overall, with any controversies being left in the dust. It was a night to remember in more ways than one.

Setlist:
Panzer Division Marduk
Baptism by Fire
The Blond Beast
Of Hell’s Fire
The Levelling Dust
Werwolf
Cloven Hoof
Throne of Rats
Between the Wolf-Packs
Burn My Coffin
Equestrian Bloodlust
Wolves
Into Utter Madness

Encore:
Serpent Sermon

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